Tires or technique

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Posted: Jun 30, 2022 at 21:05 Quote
I’m a pretty solid rider for a 57 yr old who’s been riding MTB for 6 years- long time roadie, converted to MTB after a brush with an 18 wheeler that freaked me out.

I ride loose over hard trails typical of the Santa Monica mountains. I prefer technical single track, but have to ride the fire trails to get to them. I’m fast enough on the DH sections to be top ten on many of the trails I ride. A few months ago, I went from a carbon Honzo with a 140mm Pike to a Ti Chromag Surface with a 150mm MRP. 2.6” Minion DHF and a 2.4” Dissector in the back. I’ve crashed three times in the same way on similar conditions- hot into a hard pack corner and lose the front grip, ending up in a low-side. I’ve been thinking hard about why, and have theorized that either I suck or that I’ve exposed a flaw in my tire selection. The minions seem to have a point when leaning into a turn where the grip is lower as I go from the center knobs to the side knobs. I think I crashed the same exact way- too slow a transition, not aggressive enough in edging over. It’s specific to the conditions- really hard packed dirt with light dust on top. Tire pressure is usually 20F, 22R. Fork is set within MRP range for my weight, with rebound set at 9 clicks. The bike hooks up predictably.

Me, minions or both? What would you play with to progress beyond this?

Posted: Jul 1, 2022 at 6:44 Quote
Different bike could take different technique. However, being of similar age, riding a lot longer, changing things on the bike can be easier than learning to changing ourselves. Haha I experienced what you are with the first modern bike I bought in 17 after getting back to the sport from years off. Difference was, I went the other way. First bike would not turn, or carve, and the next bike, similar parts, carved like it was on rails.

If it was me and a new bike was not an option, I would play with clickers, air pressure on the fork, stem length, tires, etc till I found somerhing that worked better. I would also experiement with different techniques to see if I could put more load on the front tire comfortably in those corners.

Sound slike the front is riding high, light footed going in. If you can get the front to settle more in those instances, your weight will be more over the front without you having to think as much or change a lot. Test test test

Posted: Jul 1, 2022 at 7:07 Quote
I would be interested to know what rubber compound you are running with those Maxxis's. You have a good set of tread patterns, but if you are running the firmer of the rubber compounds on these more technical dirt qualities, that is likely causing the issues.

My locale has a lot of flat corners, with loose and dry conditions. I switched to Maxxgripp, Assegai front, Maxxgripp DHR rear, and now I don't have traction issues like i used to. For comparison, I had a 2.8 DHR Maxxterra in the front, 2.6 DHR in the rear, thinking "the plus tires will have good grip, maybe that will solve my traction issue." Turns out the Maxxgrip, and particularly the Assegai 2.5 in front, is light years beyond the plus tires in terms of traction (although they weigh the same haha). I will go Assegai front and rear later this summer when the DHR wears out.

Also, you describe a common issue with the DHF (the only issue with these amazing tires). There is a vague or grey area that riders encounter when transitioning from an upright angle to a cornering/leaned one. You can see this flaw in the tread pattern, with that relatively large open space between the middle and side knobs. I rode DHFs in the PNW (awesome dirt), but when I moved to a dry locale with firm dirt, noticed this issue right away. The Assegai solves this moment of instability, albeit at a weight penalty.

So mounting the right tires for the conditions would be an immediate solution. Of course, I feel like my cornering technique is something I am constantly working on, an endless quest.

Posted: Jul 1, 2022 at 7:37 Quote
@MT36, I noticed the vague area first on a set of Onza Canis that were stock on a BMC I had a few years ago. They had a big vague area that led to a bite, slide bite condition that was super sketchy. Those were quickly replaced with rounder, more predictable Bontrager XR3 F, XR2 rear. That was a great setup for XC, but didn’t work so well on the Honzo. I migrated to Michelin Force AM then to Maxxis. The grey area is non-existent in the Michelins, has been surprising in the Maxxis DHF. I’ll have to check the compound on the front as well as how high the fork is riding.

T

Posted: Jul 1, 2022 at 7:56 Quote
Different bikes ergos could call for different tire type and/or different technique.

So, were you running same tire combo on the Honzo?

I run XR4 Team on both my bikes and they are worlds apart in geo. 22 Blur and 22 Hightower. One defintiely takes a bit different technique in the situation you are dealing with.

Posted: Jul 1, 2022 at 8:29 Quote
The front wheel could probably do with more weight over it.

Longer reach stem with zero rise may help there some. But before that it's worth trying things out by changing your riding position and putting more weight on the front wheel first, just to confirm it.

And of course, tire choice will make some difference. As different ones for different environments to even different front and rear, as there's some now specifically designed for the front to help with grip.

Posted: Jul 1, 2022 at 11:13 Quote
Low sides in my personal experience are almost always rider error and particularly misreading conditions. I've gotten away with pretty crazy shit on bare tires in garbage dust and lost it on fresh ones in optimal conditions because of what I was doing.

In blown out dust or dry hard getting over the bike (think flat turn or drifting a supermoto), biasing forward, and weighting your outside pedal heavily will help. If you go into a two wheel drift, you won't immediately lose it, unlike being in line with the bike, where you'll have no opportunity to recover from losing traction. By the time we get into dust bowl conditions (or dead of winter/mud) in the NW I change my riding style to account for the loss of traction, where in the spring and early fall most even slightly on camber turns can be ridden like a pool.

Posted: Jul 1, 2022 at 11:45 Quote
HaggeredShins wrote:
Low sides in my personal experience are almost always rider error and particularly misreading conditions. I've gotten away with pretty crazy shit on bare tires in garbage dust and lost it on fresh ones in optimal conditions because of what I was doing.

In blown out dust or dry hard getting over the bike (think flat turn or drifting a supermoto), biasing forward, and weighting your outside pedal heavily will help. If you go into a two wheel drift, you won't immediately lose it, unlike being in line with the bike, where you'll have no opportunity to recover from losing traction. By the time we get into dust bowl conditions (or dead of winter/mud) in the NW I change my riding style to account for the loss of traction, where in the spring and early fall most even slightly on camber turns can be ridden like a pool.

This. Ultimately technique is the biggest factor. The right geo and setup makes a difference, but not if you don't have the basics (and maybe then some) mastered.

Posted: Jul 1, 2022 at 18:34 Quote
For what it's worth my gf has a Carbon Honzo and I have a Chromag Stylus (similar to the two bikes you switched between) and find that I have to ride them quite differently. So you may just need to get used to it and alter your technique a little

Posted: Jul 3, 2022 at 10:15 Quote
As has been said countless times before:

"Good equipment cannot make up for poor technique"

Work on that first before thinking you need different tyres, suspension, setup, etc

Posted: Jul 3, 2022 at 12:27 Quote
Agree with others…your technique needs work. It’s either line choice or breaking but not the tire.

Practice slow in fast out cornering. I guarantee it will feel slow but your time will be faster, guaranteed!! Very few riders actually complete their breaking before turning. The easiest way to spot this is the proliferation of breaking bumps mid corner. If you are breaking mid corner (over breaking bumps) you f*cked up.

A low side via loosing front wheel grip is 100% rider error. A different tire like Assegai would not save you.

Posted: Jul 3, 2022 at 14:26 Quote
Tyres help. I used a dhf for years with no issues, bought a dhr II cause my friends kept saying it was better. I couldn’t comer for shit. Hard to explain, but with the dhr the bike just wants to keep forward and harder/ “ slower” to lean into the corner. The day I went back to the dhf was a relief. What was the tyre you used on your previous bike? Start from there

Posted: Jul 3, 2022 at 15:52 Quote
I find my technique is what gives me the most grip. The nice quality tires never hurt though! Smile

Posted: Jul 3, 2022 at 18:09 Quote
I've heard lots of folks like Maxxis Assegai as a choice of front tire, but I don't know what other manufacturers have to offer.

Posted: Jul 3, 2022 at 23:11 Quote
If you’re a past roadie you’re likely leaning too far back and weight too much on the inside of the corner. I’m learning this now!

Weight forward, Boss stance, and lean the bike over so your weight is outside the corner. Did wonders for me

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